By People Staff
Updated December 01, 2020 06:39 PM
Credit: Michael Becker/PictureGroup(2)

Okay, so it was the guys’ turn Wednesday night!

Michael Lynche, obviously determined to come out and just kill, performed Maxwell s This Woman’s Work. Well, he killed. He started and ended with a piercing falsetto and, between those two points, danced and sang up a small storm. Randy was thrilled, and so was Ellen: YOU are the one to beat now.

The judges seem to say that every half-hour, but never mind. What matters is that Kara cried — she became Paula! Simon didn t quite know what to make of her as she drooped against him and watered his arm with her tears, but he agreed with her: “You 100-perent nailed it,” he told Michael.

Tim Urban was the night s male Didi Benami — the hopeless case who unexpectedly redeemed himself. He sang Leonard Cohen s Hallelujah and, for once, his voice rang out and he lost his general air of befuddled struggle. Ellen, broking ancient Idol protocol that dates back to the fifth century, rushed on to the stage and game him a hug. That was fantastic, she said.

The general air of the judges was that they were in the presence of a minor miracle.

And yes, there was a male Casey Brown, too. Todrick Hall, whose ride has been pretty bumpy, started Queen s Someone to Love on a great high note, then carried it off as a gospel number: Todrick is back, said Randy. It was very much an Adam Lambert moment, establishing Todrick as what Simon described as a Broadway singer. Not perfect, by any means — but possibly good enough to keep him in. Simon seemed doubtful.

Alex Lambert, who sometimes look like a seasonal plant that will lose all its leaves and buds by summer, also continued to strengthen his position: He sang that sad, sad Ray Lamontagne song, Trouble, in that still, tremulous way of his, and it was quite affecting. Kara said he could even win the whole shebang if only he could loosen up a bit onstage: Be you — let go. Ellen, continuing to embellish her joke comparing him to a banana, said he d ripened into a proper mushy piece of fruit. Okay. Enough. Simon suggested he could get over his nerves by imagining something ludicrous, like Randy in a bikini. Wouldn t that be disturbing instead?

Hoping to recapture the magic he conjured up when he covered Paula Abdul s Straight up, Andrew Garcia sang Christina Aguilera s Genie in a Bottle. The results were decidedly mixed — he s in danger of being a gimmicky novelty singer. Ellen said that the genie needed to come out of the bottle earlier, and Simon thought it smacked of desperation.

Singing Keith Urban s You ll Think of Me, Casey James was soft and introspective and, Randy cannily observed, playing it safe. Yep. But Ellen disagreed, saying she thought the performance was great.

Aaron Kelly sang Lonestar s I m Already There with a lugubrious sincerity that made it sound 10,000 years old. I love you, said Kara. But, honey, that song … She didn t think it was emotionally relevant to a teenager, which is what tiny Aaron definitely is. I was thinking that for once I agreed with Kara — then Simon, while not being wowed by the vocal, said Kara s critique was complete and utter rubbish.

Lee Dewyze sang Owl City s Fireflies with his guitar and sounded almost like a British folk-rocker. You look confident, said Kara, and that s what we ve been waiting for. Simon complimented him without raving, but said he d make it into the top 12.

Then who won t? I bet Andy and Todrick. –Tom Gliatto

Tell us: Which performance was your favorite of the night? Who deserves to be in the top 12 and who deserves to go home? Was Michael Lynche the one to beat? Michael Becker/PictureGroup(2)